10 things we know about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden - Macleans.ca

10 things we know about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

‘I have no intention of hiding,’ source tells Guardian

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The whistleblower who brought to light the secret U.S. surveillance program—collecting telephone data from millions of American citizens and Internet data from foreigners—has come forward. The Guardian and Washington Post revealed on Sunday that Edward Snowden was their source for the massive leak U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) data.

“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he told the Guardian.

Here are 10 things we know about Snowden so far:

1. He is 29 years old and grew up in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He later moved to Maryland with his family, according to The Guardian, near NSA headquarters. Most recently, he lived in Hawaii with his girlfriend.

2. Snowden works for Booz Allen Hamilton, a major American security contractor, as an infrastructure analyst for the NSA. In a brief statement with regards to the leaked files, the company wrote:

Booz Allen can confirm that Edward Snowden, 29, has been an employee of our firm for less than 3 months, assigned to a team in Hawaii. News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm. We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter.

3. His was making a salary of roughly $200,000, according to various reports.

4. He is a former technical officer with the CIA, according to the Guardian. He also previously worked with Dell Inc.

5. He told the Washington Post that he does not have a high school diploma, but reports say he earned a GED.

6. He said he had “full access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community, and undercover assets all around the world.”

7. According to the Atlantic, Snowden tried to join the U.S. Army Special Forces.

8. He didn’t vote for Obama in 2008. (He didn’t vote for John McCain either.) He told the Guardian he voted for a third party, but didn’t say which one.

9. According to Campaignmoney.com, an Edward Snowden donated $500 to Ron Paul’s presidential bid in 2012. Ron Paul is a staunch libertarian who lost the nomination of the Republican Party in favour of Mitt Romney.

10. Snowden is seeking asylum, ideally in Iceland, but is now staying in Hong Kong. He is hoping to avoid extradition to the United States. In an interview over the course of several days with The Guardian, he said: “I think it is really tragic that an American has to move to a place that has a reputation for less freedom. Still, Hong Kong has a reputation for freedom in spite of the People’s Republic of China. It has a strong tradition of free speech.”